From the Vault: Central Nervous System of Reptiles, 1882

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 3:33pm -- Redwood Staff

Inside the amazing scientific work, Minute Structure of the Central Nervous System of certain Reptiles and Batrachians of America, the author, Dr. John J. Mason, explores the central nervous systems of a variety of reptiles including the alligator, horned toad, rattle snake and salamander. The main focus of the book is the documentary photography that comprises most of the pages. As Dr. Mason explains in his introduction; “This work was begun about three years ago, under the conviction that much remained to be accomplished in illustrating, by photography, the structure of the central nervous system.  After experimenting with various methods, I found that satisfactory prints could be made, in ink, directly upon plate paper, and that these impressions were as perfect in fine detail as any of those obtained by the silver process of printing.” Even more remarkable, was that this book was not only printed in Newport, but given by the author to the Redwood Library on October 21, 1882.

  Alligator Mississipiensis. Spinal cord. Transverse section from the middle of the lumbar enlargement, the widened area of the spinal cord that gives attachment to the nerves which supply the lower limbs.


       Menopoma Allegheniese (salamander). Spinal cord. Vertical Longitudinal section. 



Alligator Mississipiensis. Medulla Oblongata. Large cells in the raphe. Transverse section made just behind the auditory nerve.



        Emys Floridana (turtle). Ganglion in the “roof” of the optic lobes. Transverse vertical section.


        This volume is available for research and viewing with a reference appointment. 

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